I receive a lot of email and Facebook messages with questions about keto, so I thought I’d share them here with you. Because if one person is asking, likely 100’s (or more) have the same question.
**This information is for educational purposes only. Before beginning any supplements or dietary changes, consult your doctor or qualified healthcare professional, especially if you are taking any medications.
Do I Need to Supplement with Potassium or Magnesium on a Keto Diet?
“I have used potassium for years to avoid the dreaded low-carb leg cramps, but I heard somewhere that magnesium was another option. I was wondering what your experience has been?”
Leg cramps can be caused by either low potassium or magnesium. Some people on a low carb, Atkins, or ketogenic diet experience leg cramps and this is most often because they don’t know about the requirement to supplement with sodium. Low carb diets are very diuretic (makes you pee a lot!) and with this, it can cause your kidneys to lose too much sodium. With the loss of sodium, it can also cause an imbalance in potassium and other electrolytes.
One of the things I cover in my 90 Day Keto Challenge Program are various micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), that are important for long-term health and how to get enough of them on a keto diet. Along with the importance of sodium supplementation, two of the minerals I cover are magnesium and potassium.
I think of sodium as our master electrolyte. Always start here with supplementation before considering adding magnesium and/or potassium. When you are consuming adequate sodium, it preserves potassium and magnesium in the body.
When you are consuming less than 60 grams of carbs per day, it is essential to supplement your diet with 2 – 5 grams of sodium, which is equal to 1 – 2.5 teaspoons of of table salt or sea salt. Just salting your food liberally will not get you there! I have my clients measure out at least 1 teaspoon per day (I do this, too) and do 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in water in the morning and repeat again at the end of the day.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 310 mg (women) or 320 mg (men), however under certain circumstances, like stress or illness, some people may need as much as 900 mg per day. The best sources of magnesium on a low carb or keto diet (per 100 grams):
Hemp Seeds 489 mg
Almonds 276 mg
Fish, salmon 122 mg
Spinach 80 mg
Avocado 30 mg
Broccoli 20 mg
There is no RDA for potassium, only a suggested Adequate Intake (AI). Most of the U.S. population consumes about 2,500 mg of potassium per day, but the AI is set at 4,700 mg per day. The recommended amount was set based on reduction or elimination of sodium sensitivity, high blood pressure, and minimize kidney stones. However, since these symptoms go away for almost everyone following a ketogenic diet, I wonder what the adequate or optimal intake of potassium is for someone following on a keto diet. For this reason, I recommend that my clients start with sodium supplementation, then add magnesium if they are still experiencing muscle cramps, and then add potassium as a last resort (or if they aren’t eating anything green, no nuts or seeds, nor any fish or seafood).
A cheap form of potassium supplementation is Lite Salt or Nu Salt. It is about 50% sodium chloride and 50% potassium chloride, so by supplementing 2 teaspoons of this per day, you get sodium and potassium.
Best sources of potassium on a low carb or keto diet
1 avocado 689 mg
150 g salmon 658 mg
1.5 cups chopped broccoli 431 mg
2 cups spinach 334 mg
1 ounce hemp seeds 253 mg
1 ounce almonds 202 mg
Do I Need a Probiotic or Resistant Starch Supplement on a Keto Diet?
Supplementing with probiotics and/or resistant starch on a keto diet, for most people, is unnecessary. We do have a lot to learn in this area though, because the field of research about probiotics is relatively new and we just don’t have a large enough body of research specific to a ketogenic diet and the microbiome of our guts to draw upon.
There are tremendous changes that occur in the body as a person adopts a very low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet, and many of those changes happen in the gut. It is surprising to a lot of people who embark upon a gut healing protocol that it takes at least a year, and up to two years or more, to fully heal the gut. Most people on a keto diet experience various symptoms of digestion and elimination as their body adapts to the diet and begins to heal the gut, including diarrhea and/or constipation. While there are things that can help short-term with these symptoms, I encourage my clients to be patient with their bodies and allow it the time it needs to reorganize, recolonize, and regenerate the tissues.
I asked Dr. Adam Nally about his experience with and opinion of probiotic supplementation for people on a ketogenic diet when I recently sat down with him for a Keto Chat:
One of the key messages he gave us was that if you are eating plenty of saturated fat (which feeds the small intestinal bacteria) and leafy greens (which feeds the bacteria of the colon), then for most people, supplementing with resistant starch or a probiotic is not necessary.
What Resource Do You Recommend for Ketogenic Diets for Children?
The first place to look is The Charlie Foundation. They offer information and support for ketogenic diets for Alzheimer’s, autism, brain tumors, cancer, epilepsy, Lou Gerhig’s disease (ALS), mitochondrial disorders, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, and more.
On St. Patrick’s day, March 17, 2016, I had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Adam Nally in his Surprise, Arizona office and chat with him about his experience with ketogenic diets, both personally and clinical. Dr. Nally is a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) and Board Certified in Family Practice Medicine and Medical Bariatric Medicine. He’s also “The Doc” of Keto Talk with Jimmy Moore and The Doc.
And oh my, did we have fun! Plus I learned a lot, too.
Check out our chat where I ask Dr. Nally the following questions:
What lead you to become a doctor?
Why did you end up in the specialty you are in?
What’s up with the name “Doc Muscles”?
Do people following a ketogenic diet need to be on probiotics?
Do calories matter on a ketogenic diet?
What’s the deal with leptin? If low leptin makes us hungry, and leptin comes from our fat cells, why don’t we get really hungry after losing weight on a ketogenic diet?
And my favorite part was the appearance of Dr. Nally’s Cookie Monster/Yoda character voice.
No More Sunburns?
In addition to what was caught on video, Dr. Nally gave us an additional hour of his time where we talked about many things, including his observation that since being on keto, he doesn’t easily sunburn, even when outside for 4 or 5 hours without sunscreen. I had also observed this phenomenon last summer when I was experimenting with sun exposure as a way of increasing or maintaining adequate vitamin D levels. For example, summer solstice 2015, I spent 6 to 8 hours in full sun with only a tank top on, no sun screen, and did not burn. Dr. Nally shared a possible mechanism for this while following a keto diet is that ketone bodies are free radical scavengers, offering high levels of immediate protects for our cells, including our skin cells.
Are you ready to start (or reboot) your keto diet? My 90 day program gives you everything you need to start and stay on track: weekly live webinars with me, menus and shopping lists, plus a private Facebook support group. I address not only the nutrition side of things, but also the psychological side to keep you successful for the long-term.
Ten months means I’m only two months away from being a full year on a ketogenic diet. What will that feel like? And what should I do to celebrate? Since I was late posting my 9 Month update, I was concerned that I wouldn’t have much to report for my ten month update considering it has only been two weeks since my last update. However, much has happened in the last two weeks.
Winters in the Pacific Northwest can be brutal, but not in a snow-and-sleet-and-freezing-temps kind of way. (For reference, it is March right now as I write this.) Northwest winters are long, dark days of grey, dreary, drizzly, cool temperatures that can wreak havoc on a person’s mood. Anyone susceptible to depression can be challenged each year when January or February rolls around in the northwest, having just survived another calendar quarter of grey days. My genetics make me one of those people that are susceptible to winter depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Another keto win and unexpected benefit is that this year my mood is the best it has ever been at this time of year. While I still feel that tug of depression, it is simply an awareness of it rather than an all consuming mood of a heavy, inescapable wet blanket. I’ve been very impressed with this relief compared to past years of my life. And while my mood has been remarkably better, I still felt the need to get away to the sun and warmth! I decided to reach out to friends in the Phoenix area and take refuge from the grey drizzle and hopefully find some warmth of the sunshine. I would soon happily find myself in 80 – 90 degree weather. Big smiley face.
Travel to Phoenix
While my trip to Phoenix started out as a simple respite from my northwest winter, it quickly turned into a serendipitous adventure of meeting people that have reduced carbohydrate intake in one way or another to help improve their health. The trip was the perfect balance of deeply rewarding work and relaxation. My relaxation included reunions with high school and college friends (has it really been 24 years?!?), soaking up sun by the pool, and of course an In-N-Out burger (Double Double, Protein Style)! My work included these Keto Chat interviews:
Significant weight loss is a huge stressor on the body. When the body is under significant stress, it prioritizes growth and regeneration away from fast growing cells, like hair and nails. I mentioned this in previous posts, but I’ll reiterate here, that what I found in looking through literature was that any kind of diet that produces significant weight loss has the potential to cause hair loss, which I experienced during my nearly 60 pound weight loss. My literature review also made me confident that the hair loss would be temporary, and that once my weight stabilized, my hair would grow back. My weight has been stable for the last 4 months. About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that I have a surprising amount of about 2 – 3 inches of new hair growth at the crown of my head. It makes for interesting work styling my hair now, but I’m excited to have burgeoning luscious locks of hair.
I received further evidence of my good health when I stopped in at an Aveda salon in Phoenix to grab some dry shampoo that I couldn’t bring on the airplane with me. After hearing my proclamation of my oily hair (always has been that way), the stylist offered me a scalp analysis because she suggested that an oily scalp can actually be a sign of dry skin. I laughed a bit, knowing that my skin was very well moisturized from the inside out from all the fat I eat. But I humored her a bit, mostly because I wanted more proof that my body is healthy. She took a nearly microscopic digital photo of my scalp, which revealed three things: my scalp is very health (not dry), my hair follicles all have 2 hairs each (if there were less than this, it is a sign of balding or thinning), and I also have more baby fine hair growing in between my existing hair. The last part was really exciting because in addition to the 2 – 3 inch growth I can see, I have even more hair starting to grow. It seems I will soon have the thickest hair of my life.
All this hair growth is an exceptionally good sign that my body is in very good health.
Dairy Free Update
About a month ago, I decided to do a dairy-free month for two reasons. One, in support of my son, who decided to see how much more his acne would improve, and two, because I was becoming concerned about the amount of heavy whipping cream I was consuming. It was standard operating procedure in our house to have a large batch of whipped heavy whipping cream on hand to go on coffee. It was quite delicious, but that was part of the problem. It was so delicious that over time, I began wanting more, and more, and more, which is a sign of the addictive part of my brain being triggered. It was time to give it a rest and see how I felt.
We quickly realized that dairy, especially cheese, was a convenience food in our house. Without that quick and easy, grab-and-go food, I began exploring alternatives. I found some dairy-free cream cheese alternatives, but they were too expensive to grab much of our attention. We soon settled on nuts as our new quick and easy snack, but being mindful of portion size when we do. One trick I use to minimize mindless nut snacking is to keep them in the freezer. We will grab only a small handful and then put them back. Keeping them in the freezer keeps them out of sight, plus is a reminder that they need to be eaten only in limited quantities. We’ve also been using more coconut oil and coconut milk.
Now I’ll admit, I haven’t been 100% dairy free (although my son has). When out to eat, I would have cheese on my burger or salad, and occasionally I would get an Americano from Starbucks with heavy cream. But at home, we were 100% dairy free, and that is where I consume most of my meals.
What did I notice after a month of dairy-free? At first, I really, really missed the whipped cream in my coffee! Coffee just wasn’t as exciting any more. It really was something I looked forward to each morning when I woke up, so I had to go through a bit of a mourning period. I tried making coconut whipped cream, but it just wasn’t the same, but I did end up making coconut milk and coconut oil “creamer” for our coffee and it’s a nice compromise (but still not as good as whipped cream!). I also noticed that I had slightly less body inflammation, as evidenced by my massage therapist being able to work deeper, but that has only come after several weeks.
For the most part, I haven’t tracked my food intake for at least the last 3 months. I use the simple meal formula that I teach my clients in my 90 Day Challenge Program, and while in the beginning it was important to weigh and track all food, the meal formula quickly teaches you how to do this long-term, so you don’t have to track food forever. My weight has been stable, within about 5 pounds, for the last 4 months. You can see from the graph below that I had a whoosh the end of November/beginning of December, losing 7 pounds in only 1 week. After that, my weight was stable, perhaps even trending upward a bit, for the next month, followed by another small whoosh of 4 pounds over 4 days in early February. This was when I started my 5 X 5 weight lifting program, however I found that it startlingly stimulated my appetite, so I paused the program until I could research the best way to do this. I now understand that this is normal, and that I was not eating enough calories to compensate, which is why my appetite felt out of whack compared to what I was used to. I plan to reinstate my 5 X 5 workouts in the next couple of weeks, when I can more carefully monitor what I’m eating to ensure adequate calories while staying in ketosis.
That last three dots that make a straight line? That was before and after my trip to Phoenix. I was pretty impressed with myself, my body, and keto, that even while on vacation I could eat freely, simply following my appetite and maintain my weight, while eating foods such as an entire bag of macadamia nuts, a fast food double cheeseburger (minus the bun), 1 cup of heavy cream in my coffee, eggs and cheese, quadruple creamy dressing on my salads, 4 strips of bacon plus a 3 egg omelet, several pats of butter on top of my side dish, twice eating 10 chicken wings dipped in lots of blue cheese dressing, and more.
Upcoming One Year Keto Anniversary
What suggestions do you have about how I should celebrate my one year keto diet anniversary? I’m thinking I should do some kind of giveaway…
Take the 90 Day Keto Challenge
Are you ready to take the keto plunge? You should join my next 90 Day Keto Diet Challenge Program. Everything you need to succeed on a ketogenic diet: weekly live webinars with me, weekly menus and shopping lists, workbook, and private Facebook support group.
During episode 6 of Keto Chat, I interviewed Amy about her success on the 90 Day Keto Challenge Program.
Amy started the 90 Day Challenge in hopes of alleviating her plantar fasciitis pain and be able to resume running again. Along with pain relief, she also found that keto is the easiest diet she’s every tried and is really enjoying the program. Check out her great tip, too, for staying keto while eating out.
In this episode of Keto Chat, I sit down with Katie McKenna, a therapist and nutritionist that I went to school with at Bastyr University. She is licensed as a mental therapist and certified nutritionist in Washington and has her practice in the Seattle area.
Katie shares her training and experience working with eating disorders and how she helps her clients transition to ketogenic diet. She also shares tips on redefining your identity as you make a radical dietary change, and much more.
Sheena’s story is an amazing one of tenacity and strength, overcoming chronic migraines and disabling pain. Struggling for years with multiple food allergies and an eating disorder made it especially challenging for Sheena to reclaim her health. One of the primary challenges she had was finding a healthcare professional that would validate her own thoughts and feelings about what was wrong with her since most eating disorder treatment teaches that a person can’t trust her own inner voice or intuition. But once she found a nutritionist that was willing to listen to her, that is when her healing really began.
As she moved into recovery from her eating disorder, she began transitioning to a higher fat diet, and then finally to a ketogenic diet.
She is truly an inspiration. Check out our keto chat and the results she has experienced.
9 months on a ketogenic diet. Wow. In some ways, it feels like just yesterday I started this way of eating. In other ways, it seems like forever ago that I was in that old body with all those debilitating symptoms. In the beginning, I mentally committed to at least 90 days because I knew it takes at least that long to become very well adapted to a ketogenic diet. The results have been so dramatic that I’ve gone three times as long as my original commitment with no plans of stopping.
A lot is new: weight lifting, podcast interview, thoughts on cravings, hair regrowth, and more. And a lot is the same: weight loss maintained, normalized blood pressure and blood sugar, all the other health improvements, and my 90 Day keto challenge programs.
Ongoing Health and Symptom Improvements
Here is a recap of the health improvements I’ve experienced over the last 9 months:
Normalized blood pressure
No more metabolic syndrome
Normalized liver function
Normal fasting blood glucose (went from 96 to 70)
70% drop in inflammation (C-reactive protein)
Only one migraine headache in the last 9 months (before keto I was having multiple migraines each month that lasted 6 days each)
Chronic leg pain is almost completely gone
Leg swelling almost complete gone
Memory and mental acuity are at pre-accident level
Energy is fantastic (one year ago I was bedridden from extreme fatigue)
Sleep has dramatically improved, both in quality and circadian rhythm
Urinary incontinence is gone
Athlete’s foot is nearly gone
Toe nail fungus is dying
Sugar, carb, and fast food cravings are gone
Depression and mood is greatly improved
Skin appearance and texture is so soft and smooth
Cardiovascular exercise endurance is unbelievable
Resting heart rate has dropped from high 80s to 60s
Heat intolerance is gone
Physical clumsiness and dropping things is almost gone
Motivation is through the roof
Light and noise intolerance is gone
Sense of ease, calm, peace (lack of anxiety)
Obesity is gone
Central abdominal obesity gone
Ability to return to work full-time
My diet remains pretty much the same and you can see what I eat by following me on Instagram here. For the most part, I don’t weigh or measure my food at this point because I’ve learned what foods and portions fit my keto macros. I did decide to do a dairy-free month, however.
Dairy-free month. Personally, I started to notice my consumption of heavy whipping cream was increasing over time and that each time I had some, it never felt like it was enough. I started having obsessive thoughts about how I could get more, so I decided it was time to take a break from it. This coincided with my 20 year old son (he’s keto, too) expressing his desire to do a dairy-free month, as well. He tends toward cystic acne that he has identifed in the past was triggered by dairy, so prior to keto he mostly avoided it. He decided to try dairy again when he went keto about 7 months ago, to see if the tendency for keto to dramatically reduce inflammation would mediate or prevent his normal reaction to dairy. At first, he did not seem to have his normal cystic acne breakouts, and he still doesn’t. However he wants to take his keto diet to the next level and cut out dairy to see if it will completely eliminate all acne (and my guess is that it likely will).
Keto without dairy is a challenge, however it is not impossible. I’m exploring dairy-free keto friendly foods, like Kite Hill cheese, Go Veggie cream cheese, and Epic Bars, plus some homemade recipes, so stay tuned for updates, new recipes, and product reviews.
Hiking and Lifting Weights
A few weeks ago, I was able to go hiking for the first time since the car accident. It had been 2.5 years since I’d gone hiking. It was a milestone, for sure. What was most impressive for me was my level of cardiovascular endurance. Previously, any time I’d go hiking, I would experience pretty significant hypoglycemia symptoms (like feeling delirious and lightheaded at the end) if I didn’t have a high carb snack along the way. This time I not only didn’t need a snack at all, but I also hadn’t even eaten breakfast. And we hiking for over 2 hours. I felt strong and energetic. And after the hike was over, I had thoughts of going for another walk. It was the feeling of tapping into my body’s ample supply of fat energy. It was glorious!
I also decided to start lifting weights and settled on the 5×5 stronglifts program. I joined my local no-frills gym and really enjoyed the feeling of challenging my muscles. Soon I noticed though that lifting weights three times per week suddenly brought my appetite roaring back. This freaked me out a bit, so I took a break from the gym to do a little investigation. After all I could from /ketogains on Reddit and Facebook, I came to the conclusion that I was dramatically under-eating calories (even when following my appetite) for the workouts I was doing and would actually need to go back to monitoring my intake to ensure I was getting enough calories on workout days. Since I have a trip to Phoenix planned a couple of weeks, I decided to hold off on my 5X5 workouts until I return and can adequately monitor my food intake.
Guest on Ketovangelist Podcast
A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a guest on The Ketovangelist podcast. It was really fun talking to Brian and sharing the story of my health transformation, plus some insight into what it is like working as a nutritionist while following a diet that goes against what mainstream nutrition says is health. Take a listen if you haven’t yet.
Over the last 3 months, my weight has been fairly stable, as well as my body fat percentage and measurements. There is a theory that your body remembers past weights that it was at for any significant period of time and tries to maintain that weight, which can result in plateaus. My body may just really like this weight (mid to low 160s). Or I might be consuming too much dairy, which equates to too many calories and/or extra inflammation. I shall continue to watch and see what happens. This does show that this way of eating is sustainable, however, since I don’t really track or measure my food any more.
September to February. Comparing measurements from September (pictured top right) to February (bottom right) I’ve lost nearly 1 inch on some measurements (chest, calf, bicep), almost nothing on my hips, but almost 2 inches on my waist.
December to February. My body’s measurements were pretty much the same when comparing December (middle picture on bottom; last time I took measurements) to February (picture on bottom right), which confirms that my body is in a holding pattern of weight maintenance.
Health Issues Improving
No more TMJ?!? So I hadn’t even reported on this in the past, but I just noticed two days ago that the former popping in my jaw is gone. I can open and close my jaw with ease, without any popping or locking. While this wasn’t something that I experienced any pain with, it was a sign of something not working correctly in my body. Another keto surprise benefit.
Hair regrowth. During the time that I was losing weight, my head shed a lot of hair. After researching this, I found that it is quite common on ANY diet where a person losing a significant amount of weight. I also found that there weren’t any supplements that counteracted this (research showed biotin supplementation, for example, was no more effective than waiting it out). It seems that weight loss is a significant stressor on the body in what ever form it takes. So it seems that as my weight loss has stopped, my hair has begun to regrow. I have about 1.5 – 2 inches of regrowth everywhere on my head. It makes for interesting extra fluff to style, but I’m happy to report that keto doesn’t make your hair fall out long term.
Athlete’s foot and nail fungus update. At one point I reported that my athlete’s foot of 10 years had gone away, but it seems to be dying a slow death. It is no longer occupying the bottom of my foot (no scaly, peeling skin there at all), but I have a small patch that has moved up onto the top of my foot and my little toes. It’s quite odd, as it seems to be moving in a wave, trying to run away from the ketone bodies, but it can’t escape. Athlete’s foot fungus is notoriously hard to kill, even with the strongest pharmaceuticals, so it is interesting to see how it is dying off with keto. And my nail fungus (which I think I also erroneously declared gone after a month) has grown out about one quarter of the length of my nail, so it too is dying a very slow death. I hope it’s painful, too. Well, not painful for me (which it’s not), but a slow, painful death for fungus just sounds like the stuff of a B horror movie.
No gas. This may be TMI, but I never fart. OK, almost never: when I add a lot of high-fiber seeds like chia, that can cause a little gas the next day, but a very small amount. And when I tried out Quest’s powdered MCT oil for travel last month, it caused a little gas and bloating initially, which I’m attributing to the small amount of corn fiber it contains. All of this “no gas” stuff is actually old news, but something I just realized that I hadn’t mentioned here. Keto is really great for getting rid of bacterial overgrowth (the wrong kinds in the wrong place, and too much of the wrong kind) in intestines.
Normal resting heart rate. A year ago, and for a very long time before that, my resting heart rate had always been in the high 80s. I’ve never been a super fit person aerobically, but even when I was in “better shape” my heart rate always remained in the mid- to high-80s. While at my endocrinologists office, I discovered that my resting heart rate is now about 68 – 70 beats per minute. Wow! It dropped about 20 points over last year. Now some might jump on this and say, “Well, you lost all that weight. Of course your heart rate dropped.” And to that I would say, no, I’ve been this weight in the past and even then my heart rate was in the 80s.
And others may say, “Oh, well you’re working out now, so you’re in better cardiovascular shape.” No, no, I’m not doing much “cardio” at all, so the drop in heart rate has nothing to do with being in better cardiovascular shape. At least by the standard idea of training hard, doing lots of exercises that make you breath hard so your body gets more efficient at carrying oxygen to your tissues idea of cardiovascular shape.
And still others may say, “Aha! That keto diet slowed down your metabolism!” Which may be partially true. However, since I’m not constantly freezing (in fact I still run warmer than most people around me), I would disagree that my drop in heart rate is due primarily to slowed metabolism. I would argue that since my body is using fuel more efficiently, as evidenced by the anecdote I shared above about hiking and treadmill walking, my heart does not need to pump as furiously to get oxygen and nutrients to my tissues.
Chronic Leg Pain
The chronic leg pain (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS) that I was suffering from after my car accident of 2014 did lift pretty quickly after I started keto. However, most recently as I’ve become more physically active with hiking and weight training, I am being reminded that there is still damage and scar tissue in my legs. Whereas before keto, if I would do ANY increased activity, like even sitting without my legs elevated, I would have extreme swelling and pain to the point that it would interfere with my sleep. Now as I resume hiking and begin lifting weights, I notice after that my legs feel tight (instead of swollen) and tender to the touch (allodynia, which means pain upon non-painful stimulus to the skin, which is a remnant of CRPS and sign of nerve damage). And when my massage therapist has worked my leg muscles, there is considerable pain with deeper work. But knowing where I was almost 2 years ago, I am very grateful I’m not back there!
I continue to have issues with sleep (central apnea) as I reported a few months ago. I’ve been working with a wonderful chiropractor as well as a massage therapist to properly align my neck and spine, and it has been helping. My sleep is improving, but I still continue to have issues with hypnoapnea early in the morning, which prevents me from getting optimal sleep. All of my doctors have said that central apnea is hard to treat, which is similar to what I was told about my neuro and endocrine symptoms after my car accident. And since I found a solutions for that (yay, keto!), I’m not giving up hope on resolving my central apnea. I’ve added chlorophyll with the idea that increasing my blood’s oxygen carrying capacity may help. And I continue to work with my primary Naturopathic Doctor as well as my Naturopathic Endocrinologist as we delve into the genetic medicine and nutrition of methylation defects.
How about you?
What health improvements have you noticed after following a ketogenic diet?
Brion and I met randomly while hiking with friends and as it turned out, he too follows a ketogenic diet. And as so many have experienced, he also had a health transformation as a result of following a very low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet.
I invited Brion over to chat about his keto diet. Some of his health improvements include improved mood, less alcohol use, and weight loss. Plus he talks about keto compared to other diets, like how with keto he’s not constantly hungry, unhappy, or irritable.
He concludes our discussion by saying, “I think it’s been a life changer.” Take a watch and listen. This is what keto is like for real people.
If you want to start a hot debate on an ketogenic diet Facebook group, post a photo of your “zero carb” heavy whipping cream (abbreviated HWC). Many people simply look at the label on their HWC and conclude that it has zero grams of carbs, so they can consume it to their soon-to-be-fat-adapted heart’s content. But slow down, dairy-lover! I have some important news for you: your HWC does have carbs. All HWC has carbs even though the labels says it doesn’t.
Why heavy whipping cream has carbs even though the labels says it has zero.
In the United States (and perhaps elsewhere) there is a labeling loophole (many of them, actually, but we are only talking about HWC for now) regarding carbohydrates. Food manufacturers are allowed to label a food as having zero grams of carbs if it contains 0.5 grams or less per serving. That last part is important – PER SERVING. The serving size for HWC is 1 ounce, or 2 tablespoons. One ounce of HWC actually contains 0.4 grams of carbs. So to most of the population, 0.4 grams of carbs means nothing, so counting it as zero is fine. But to someone working to keep total daily carbs under 20 grams, 0.4 grams is a significant amount. And more importantly, most people following a low carb or ketogenic diet will consume more than one serving of HWC, especially if they think it contains no carbs. So that 0.4 grams of carbs quickly turns into 2, 4, or even 6 grams of carbs. Or more.
No, your HWC is not special. All HWC contains carbs even though your label says it doesn’t.
I often see people arguing online about whether or not HWC contains carbs. People love HWC so much that they really want to be able to consume cups of it without any consequences. They so desperately want to cling to the hope that HWC doesn’t have any carbs that they come up with excuses. The one I see the most often it, “Well, maybe YOUR HWC contains carbs, buy MY HWC doesn’t.” Just because you want it to be true does not make it true. HWC all comes from the same place (cow’s milk) and there is no special cow that makes milk with zero carbs (but perhaps some cow breeder is working on it…). Yes, concentrating the milk into HWC greatly reduces the carb count, but there are still carbs that remain. So no matter if your label says zero carbs, or your food tracking app says zero carbs, or that recipe you saw on Pinterest says zero carbs, all HWC does have 0.4 grams per 1 ounce.
When in doubt, look it up.
When any food label states 0 grams of carbs per serving, I automatically assume that it contains some carbs, unless it is a pure fat, like coconut oil, olive oil, red palm oil, MCT oil, etc. If you see 0 grams of carbs on a label, I encourage you to look it up on cronometer.com or nutritiondata.self.com to check for yourself. While I think My Fitness Pal (MFP) is a very useful and a handy app that works well for most keto dieters, it has limitations on the level of detail for carb counts. A lot of the foods in MFP simply re-state the macros listed on a food label. So if a food label says 0 grams of carbs, MFP is going to tell you that an entire cup of HWC contains zero carbs. But that is a lie.
This is why I recommend that my clients use cronometer.com or nutritiondata.self.com to look up and track their food intake, because both have robust and highly accurate carb counts on most foods, including HWC. Cronometer, for example, correctly shows that HWC contains 0.41 grams of carbs per 1 ounce.
Or if you don’t want to look it up, assume 0.5 grams per serving. But don’t fool yourself into believing that HWC is carb-free and that you can consume as much as you want.
Where were you surprised to discover hidden carbs?
Share your carb revelations in the comments below.